BMW Head of Design plans to diverse BMW’s portfolio, doesn’t dismiss supercar possibility

Interesting, News | January 22nd, 2018 by 31
Jozef Kaban BMW 750x500

BMW’s design is going through a bit of a change at the moment. Cars like the new G30 BMW 5 Series have been met with some criticism for being a bit too bland and uninspired. However, BMW has also debuted some pretty stunning looking concept cars that are seemingly going to head into production without changing too much, such as the 8 Series Concept and Z4 Concept. Those cars, even in pre-production spy shots, seem as if they’re going to usher in a new era of pretty designs from BMW. So we recently sat down with BMW’s new Head of Design, Jozef Kaban, at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show to talk about the future of BMW’s design language.

“When I look overall, we’re in an excellent time, a very special moment not only for the car industry but for the designers.” Kaban said. Both technology and expectations are at an all-time high, at the moment, for both the designers and the customers. According to Kaban, that’s both challenging and exciting. It pushes designers to make the most exciting and interesting designs that they can.

BMW 8 Series Concept pictures 37 830x554

“The car is going to deliver more than it ever has.” said Kaban about the those technologies and expectations. Thanks to the added connectivity and autonomy of modern and future cars, customers are demanding much more from car companies. So designers have to push the envelope further than ever before. However, despite these challenges, Kaban seems genuinely excited about the future of design.

“BMW is one of the brands that you’re not only talking about the cars but emotions.” said Kaban when asked about the direction in which BMW is currently headed. “The driving experience, just by using the car, should stay a very special experience.”

He also spoke about how the Bavarian brand’s portfolio and how it needs to expand a bit. That’s been BMW’s biggest design complaint, as of late, as fans feel that BMW’s model line is all too similar. “With the portfolio of the brand, we’ve had [an opportunity] to talk to customers, and I think with this portfolio, we’re planning in the future to split them a little bit, to diverse them a little bit”. That should be music to BMW fans’ ears.

BMW 5 Series entrepreneurs lifestyle 02 1 830x553

While speaking with Kaban, we also asked him a question that we thought all of you readers would appreciate. We asked him about the prospect of a potential supercar from BMW, since he had helped design supercars for Bugatti before working for BMW. “I came to BMW to help with other thinking, to give them another opportunity to think about [new] things.” he said. “BMW is doing great cars, maybe there is space to dream about the next [new car], maybe something more extreme.” So the answer wasn’t a flat no.

We also spoke to Kaban about the future of autonomous cars and how important design is, to bring customers in, make customers want to own one. “It is very important, in the beginning the car has to be attractive. You want to love it, you want to see it, you want to experience it.” said Kaban. “The way how you enter the car, how it opens, all these experiences. It’s not [a singular experience] anymore.” He also spoke about how individualization will become more important with autonomous cars, so as to make them feel more personal. He also said that BMW has some ideas in mind but there’s currently not an answer, as this is such new territory for designers.

Kaban is an experienced designer, having worked for so many different automotive brands, such as Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Bugatti. So he has a wide breadth of ability that gives him the experience to move BMW brand forward. In the next 2-3 years, we will be seeing several concept models penned under Kaban, while the first production model – the new 7 Series – is scheduled for sometimes in 2021.

31 responses to “BMW Head of Design plans to diverse BMW’s portfolio, doesn’t dismiss supercar possibility”

  1. seancorr says:

    Hmmm that would mean the upcoming G20 will look like a smaller G30…. sigh.

  2. Giom says:

    Already we’re seeing different designs for different models. ie. X2 looks nothing like X1. I expect this trend to gain momentum. I’m nervously excited, but from what we’ve seen so far, the direction seems right.

  3. Ask says:

    Nico, didn’t you say the new G30 5 series the best looking 5 series to date in the other article?

  4. Icebreakerr says:

    “Cars like the new G30 BMW 5 Series have been met with some criticism for being a bit too bland” WHEN? g30 is beautiful all the feedback i have seen is 99% of people loving the design

  5. Icebreakerr says:

    while the first production model – the new 7 Series – is scheduled for sometimes in 2021

    do you mean LCI 7 series or a brand new 7er?

  6. pervertt says:

    Whenever there is a new design chief, there’s a great temptation for him to shake things up, to put his stamp of authority on new cars. Sometimes it can work wonders – witness the transformation of Audi under Walter daSilva. Other times it can be disastrous, as BMW found out after it gave Chris Bangle too much of a free hand. I sense that BMW is still searching for a design language with which it and its customers are comfortable with. Let’s see what Herr Kaban can come up with.

    • U.N. Owen says:

      Audi had a design transformation?! When? Do you mean Kia transformation when they hired Audi designer?
      “Disastrous” Bangle era is when they took sales crown from Mercedes. For a decade.

      • John says:

        Are you drunk?

        • U.N. Owen says:

          No. You’re stupid.
          Why won’t disqus block blockheads?
          Since you are only here to name call maybe you should leave until you can actually articulate an intelligent opinion.
          Or find an actual Doctor who can prescribe effective meds.

      • Ask says:

        I agree with you on Chris Bangle “Bangle-Butt” era.
        From business point of view, it was probably the best sales numbers they ever had.
        To name a few, from E46s, E39s, E90s, E92s E60s and E65/66s… and more

      • pervertt says:

        Look at the Audis from the early 90s and most will probably agree that they were well made, but boring as bat poo. Then look at modern day Audis. I personally think Audi has taken over the design space that BMW owned during the 90s. F Piech realised the need for emotional design when he was running Audi back then.

        Chris Bangle famously criticised older BMWs as different lengths of the same sausage. Now that ‘flame surfacing’ has matured somewhat, we find Herr Kaban making a similar comment about the current crop of BMW cars (albeit more politely). Hence my comment about new design chiefs wanting to place their imprimatur on a new design direction.

        • U.N. Owen says:

          BMW established one sausage three sizes by hiring french designer Paul Bracq from Mercedes in 1970, he created 3/5/6/7 and M1 predecessor Turbo Concept decades before Bangle joined the company. Flame surfacing was a journalist’s phrase, not BMW’s. Fortunately beauty is in the eye of the beholder, from Beetle on I will never look at a VAG.

          • pervertt says:

            For better or wurst, Germans are very conscious of their heritage. All of the major German car makers have a common design language running through their products. Porsche takes it to extremes. I thought it extremely disrespectful of Bangle to use the sausage analogy to describe the very successful work of his design predecessors in BMW. This brash young American thought he could teach the Bavarians how to make a better sausage. In my view, time has not been kind to the cars that came out under his watch. The E60 and E65 in particular have not aged well. You only have to look at the cars that came out afterwards to see that BMW took an entirely different design path after the Bangle era.

      • pervertt says:

        Selling lots of cars is not necessarily indicative of successful or intelligent design. If it was, Toyota produces very well designed cars compared to other makers.

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